Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter in Brussels

It's been way too long since I've updated the blog, but I've just been way too tired. Tomorrow is my last day of work and then hopefully I'll be able to get some much needed rest for a couple of weeks before the baby arrives. We're down to the last 2.5 weeks -- almost there! In the meantime, we got some snow today in Belgium, and Michael convinced me to try out our new video camera by making a video with him. So here it is - think of it as an electronic Christmas card to all our friends and family from Jane, Michael, Zoë, Pi and Finnigan! I'll keep the posts coming in the next few days!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nice to Meet You, Third Trimester!

I've made it to 28 weeks - the official start of the third trimester! My friend Angie calls this the "uncomfortable stage" and warns that it is followed by the "miserable stage"
(actually it's 29 weeks now, but this is the 28-week picture).

Michael and I have started our pre-natal classes, and all this talk about how you know when it's time to get to the hospital and what to do after you arrive home with a newborn has suddenly started to give us a sense of urgency... even if there are still over 2 months to go. On the other hand, preparing for the baby gives us something to do other than looking at each other every night and saying "omg, what have we done?", and a little distraction is welcome at this point.

I've started to get the backaches and general uncomfortableness that comes with this stage of pregnancy, and unfortunately for Michael they tend to be harder to deal with at night after a day of work, so he bears the brunt of the whining and complaining. He asked that I point out to everyone that he is very good at giving me back rubs and bringing me tea after I get comfortably arranged on the couch, and that he has been doing all the cooking too (on the menu this month - lots of omega-3s to help with brain development).

We're now looking forward to two November events - on the 9th we're doing the tour of the maternity ward to see the place where I'll be giving birth, and then on the 20th we have a final ultrasound to make sure that the baby has turned and is in the right position and that everything else is looking OK. It's the home stretch!!!

An Exciting Shopping Trip

Michael and I recently joined the Brussels Childbirth Trust - a non-profit, English-speaking organization here in Brussels that offers all sorts of services for young families in Brussels. We're starting pre-natal courses through this organization this week, and they also organize playgroups and events for babies and toddlers (and their parents) after the birth. This weekend, they held one of their bi-annual "nearly new" sales, so Michael sacrificed his lunch break in order to dig through tables of baby clothes, toys, books and equipment. Since Michael has a limited lunch break, we set out a strategy to get in and out as quickly as possible. Priorities were English books and newborn clothes that are only ever worn for a few weeks.

The sale started at 1:30 and came with a warning to "show up early in order to get the good stuff", so we arrived at about 1:35. The line to get into the place already reached all the way to the main street, and people were streaming into the line quickly. We waited in the line for 10-15 minutes (luckily it wasn't raining), and paid our €1 fee to get in and join the mob! It was packed wall-to-wall with people clustered around the clothing tables, people trying to manoeuvre through the crowd carrying high chairs or rocking horses or bassinets, and Michael's favorite - people stopped in the middle of a travel lane to have a chat. The first table was the books table, and Michael and I both managed to muscle into a spot and start sifting through the options. Michael's best finds were a dinosaur pop-up book and an "I spy" picture book based on fairy tales. I got two books about fairies and a couple of others that looked like they had nice illustrations.

Next up: Clothing! We started making our way toward the newborn table at the other end of the room, but before we could get there Michael got frustrated by the slow walkers and pregnant women not moving quickly enough and headed off to the rack of 3-6 month clothing. I eventually made it to the newborn table and started to pick out little onesies and sleepers, along with all the other pregnant women asking each other how many hats a baby needs and if it's even worth it to buy socks. Michael eventually joined me with his selections of outfits "for the summer" when the baby gets a bit bigger. We have realized two things: the first is that it is hard not to buy all pink things when you're shopping for a little girl, and the second is that we are both suckers for anything with winnie-the-pooh on it.

At the end of the day we ended up with 10 books and 21 outfits for €72 euros - not a bad deal at all, and a good start to both the library and the wardrobe! The next sale is in March, and we're already writing down the next battle plan.

In the meantime, Finnigan can't wait for the new arrival - she definitely knows that something is up now!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

OMG Maternity Pants!

I took these pictures about a month ago (at 21 weeks pregnant), and have been meaning ever since to write a special post about how much I love maternity pants. I have read quite a few complaints from women on pregnancy forums about how they can't find pants that fit them, and how they wish they could still fit into their normal pants... I am the total opposite. Saying that you can't find maternity pants that fit is like saying that you can't find sweat pants that fit! These are the best. pants. ever. I'm never going back to normal pants.

For those of you who haven't experienced them yet, these are pants with a huge elastic waist band that comes up to your armpits, which doesn't sound terribly comfortable, but really is. It's like wearing sweat pants all day! And the bottom parts of the pants look perfectly normal, so once you put your shirt on over them it's all style. I must admit though, that the best part about them is that they are so stretchy and flexible that they always fit -- so Michael can pick out my size at the store and bring them home and I never even have to shop! Perfect.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

25 Weeks

Finally! Definitely pregnant!

Also, well past the halfway point, and looking forward to the official start of the third trimester in another 3 weeks.

Last week I was telling everyone how great I was feeling - the tiredness really hadn't hit, and although I was having some trouble sleeping at night (due to some of the craziest nightmares I've ever had in my life), I really had nothing to complain about. Well, I obviously spoke too soon, because this week I've been hit with a huge wall of tired. I mostly attribute it to the fact that I think the baby has had a growth spurt this week, but it also must be due to the curse of overconfidence. This curse hits me whenever I'm playing freecell and think I have it all wrapped up, or when the hardest part of some task is done and I'm sure that it will be straightforward from now on. The curse also hits every player in Survivor who claims to be completely in control of the game.

So just as a test, here are some of the things that I'm not experiencing right now: Swollen ankles, insatiable hunger, and the urge to clean the house. $50 says that now that I've mentioned these things they'll be my main complaints for next week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pic of the Day: Oh Finnigan

Oh Finnigan

Picture of the Day

Saturday, August 22, 2009

20.7 Weeks

I have to start off by saying that I was a bit disappointed by the fact that my 18 week picture looked so similar to my 16 week picture, so this time I decided that maybe wearing yellow would be enough to mix it up a bit. Add that to the fact that I've had a bit of a growth spurt just this week, and we have a recognizable change for the halfway mark at 20 weeks!

I was really looking forward to the 20 week blog post, because this marks the halfway point in the pregnancy, and I was all set to blog about how I'm already halfway there and how it was all going to go quickly from here. Unfortunately, for most of this week I've been feeling more only halfway than already halfway - it all seems to be going so slowly.

However, this week actually has ended up being somewhat of a turning point. I've started to get some comments at work from the cafeteria ladies, asking if I was pregnant and offering their congratulations, and also this week I went out and bought my first maternity clothes. Ok, to be fair since I know that he will comment about it, I admit that the way it actually happened was that Michael went to the store during the day and bought some things in my size from the maternity department, and when I got home at night he told me to try it all on and that he would return anything that I didn't want the next day. What can I say, I hate shopping.

But most importantly, I'm really starting to feel the baby move around and kick this week. I started to feel occasional gurgles of movement about 2-3 weeks ago, but they weren't happening every day and felt so much like gas or digestion that it was always hard to tell if they were actually kicks. This week it's all becoming more regular, and I can tell that the baby is getting stronger because she's getting better at kicking. Michael even felt a couple of the kicks last night when he had his hand on my stomach, which was exciting for both of us!

Finally, I can just about say that I'm 21 weeks in now, and the only thing better than being halfway there is being more than halfway there! Only 19 weeks to go!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Pictures From Tunisia

We've been back from our vacation for a week, and I'm just now getting around to posting some more of our photos. As you can see, the weather was great and so was the water! Notice how Michael is in the water for almost every photo? And he wonders how he ends up with a rash...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scenes From the Sea

We're on our second-to-last day of vacation! We've spent a whole week enjoying the sun, sand and sea at the El Mansour Hotel in Tunisia and we've had a blast. The internet connection here is pay by the hour, so this is our first time logging on, and we're really only logging on today because Michael is suffering from some type of rash that could be due to the sun, or the sea, or some potion that he's put on, but in any case we're both happy to spend a little time inside today. The weather has been gorgeous - not a cloud in the sky the whole time - and we've spent most of our time down on the beach underneath an umbrella enjoying the breeze coming in off the sea. We're back in Belgium on Wednesday late at night, and I'll post some more pictures and stories on Thursday. For now, here are some of our best shots.

The view from our balcony:

The view from our beach chairs:

Michael in the Mediterranean:

My "pregnant chic" look:

Happy on the beach:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

R&R in Tatooine

We're off for a week of vacation at the El Mansour Hotel and Resort in Tunisia. I'm not normally one for beach vacations, but in this case I just can't wait to spend a whole week relaxing either by the pool or on the shores of the Mediterranean. The hotel is right on the coast, and the beaches in this area are legendary. We got an all-inclusive package, so all our meals, drinks and snacks are already taken care of - we never have to leave the hotel!

Our original vacation plan was to go to India for my friend Anita's wedding. Michael and I talked about it for a long time, and in the end we decided that it just wouldn't be a good idea for us right now. I'm not a great traveler to begin with, and add to that the burdens of traveling around India to see the sights with the heat, and worrying about food, and less-than-luxury travel methods, we didn't want to end up being miserable the whole time (ie. Michael stated quite flatly that he refused to spend two weeks in India listening to me moaning and complaining and refusing to leave the hotels because I didn't feel well).

So we're onto plan B. We went into a travel agent and asked for a last-minute deal. Some of our other options were Spain and Portugal, but I didn't want to feel obliged to go out and see things. The appealing thing about this resort is that there is absolutely nothing else to do there. 40% of the country is covered by the Sahara desert! Michael is threatening to go out to see the remains of the Star Wars movies (all the scenes on Tatooine were filmed in Tunisia - this is Luke's home planet, and also where Jabba the Hut lives). I told him that if he wants to get on a camel to venture out into the desert to see the remains of an old movie set, then to make sure he gets a picture of himself going "These are not the droids you're looking for", and that I will see him again for dinner back at the hotel.

We're not sure if there will be internet access in the hotel or not. If there is, then we'll try to post the occasional picture, and if not, then we'll be back in a week!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Will the nursery be pink or blue?

We just got back from the doctor's office! We aren't scheduled for the "full anatomical scan" for another 3 weeks - this is the ultrasound when the doctor has a detailed look at all the baby's organs and makes sure that everything is in place and working. But with the less detailed scan that we did today, it was still possible to determine if we're having a boy or a girl! First of all - the baby looks great, moving around well with a strong heartbeat. Secondly, the doctor couldn't be 100% sure that she has predicted the gender correctly, because the umbilical cord was slightly in the way. We'll get 100% verification in 3 weeks at the big ultrasound, but in the meantime, it looks like we're having a little girl!

The first thing I said was "This is wonderful! She and I will be able to do science experiments together!", to which Michael replied (a bit haughtily) "Boys can do science experiments too, you know". But the point is that boys like to light things on fire and blow things up, which is not the same as experiments. And I have never heard of a girl wanting to put goldfish into liquid nitrogen. Of course, it's equally likely that she'll be into poetry or something, but I'm trying not to think about that for now. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Everything the Light Touches

Michael's latest invention is a double-paned piece of plexiglass that fills in one complete side of the double-doors that lead out to our porch -- with a cat door installed in it! The cats adore it - now they can come and go as they please to explore their territory, or to simply bask in the sun on the porch before coming back inside to cool off a bit, and then heading back out. Finnigan has also been practicing her quick escapes in anticipation of the not-so-distant toddler years - she has heard horror stories of tail pulling, not to mention the dreaded "tea parties".

18 Weeks

I've made it to 18 weeks! This is one of the milestones that I've been aiming at, which mostly has to do with the bizarre way of counting weeks and months during pregnancy.

A normal pregnancy is 40 weeks, or 9 months. But usually you would count 4 weeks/month... you can see that the math doesn't work out. So some "months" are actually 5 weeks long, while other "months" are 4 weeks long, and to make it especially confusing, everyone has a different way of counting the months. It may not seem like this is important, but when you're constantly running to google to see if your symptoms are normal, it is a big source of stress ("Is that ache in my stomach round ligament pain? I'm not supposed to feel that until month 4... wait, what week am I in again?").

In any case, it is Universally accepted that month 5 is weeks 18-22, which straddles the halfway point at week 20. This is a big month, because it is during this period that the sex of the baby can be determined for the first time, and it is also during this period that the baby's movements can first be felt. Two very big steps! And, according to What to Expect When You're Expecting, by the end of this month the "in between" stage should be over, and there should be no doubt that I'm actually pregnant. FINALLY!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A big purchase

Our latest escapade started out with a fairly innocent comment. Michael picked me up from work and when I got into the car, he said "Baby 2000 is having a sale this week, want to go over there now?" (Baby 2000 is a big box store, very much like Babies R Us). I didn't want to go right then, because the place is usually packed with traffic - it is right beside IKEA - and since they are doing construction on the roads near there it is quite a chore to get in and out. In any case, they close at 7pm and by this time it was already past 6... "No problem" says Michael, "I'll go check it out tomorrow on my own".

Fast forward to the following morning. I'm at work when my cellphone starts dinging me with text messages from Michael: "I'm at Baby 2000 now, they have the stroller we need to get and it's on sale! We have to get it today". At this point I'm thinking, wait - we haven't properly RESEARCHED strollers yet. I know that I want something that converts from pram to stroller, and that three wheels are better than 4, but I still have no idea what the best brands are, and which features are actually useful vs. just trying to get you to spend more. And what about weight? Folding capabilities? Have we read any reviews yet?

Next thing I know, Michael is back at home sending me reviews via google chat. He's picked out the Urban Jungle stroller made by Mountain Buggy (a New Zealand company), and sure enough the reviews are great. It turns on a dime, it can manoeuvre anywhere - streets, trails, grass, sand, it goes there. The kids love it, it's comfortable, easy to push, fully adjustable, lightweight, folds down easily. It's in the top 5 of all the major baby product review websites. Best of all, Michael texts me, "It's Orange!!". Now usually I would scoff at the idea that the colour is more important than say, will I be able to lift it into the trunk while holding the baby in one arm, but in this case I have to admit that orange was a bit of a turning point for me.

All of a sudden Michael and I are in Baby 2000 together on my lunch break, after having eaten some Swedish meatballs over at IKEA. I'm insisting that we have to push every single one of the 100+ different strollers in the store to get a good feel for what the options are like, while Michael is insisting that if we don't buy this today, then we're just going to end up coming back and getting this exact model when it isn't on sale ("The next sale isn't until December! That's just cutting it too close!").

So we chat with some salespeople and the next thing I know we're loading this super-duper state-of-the-art all terrain stroller into the back of our car, along with the buggy/pram attachment and some extra goodies that came with the deal - a baby bag that clips on to the handlebars and a baby sleeping bag that I swear is warmer than my own winter bag that is rated to -40 degrees, and that has special holes in the back of it so that the stroller's safety harness can thread through it. We also got an infant car seat, which was a no-brainer - it's a Maxi-Cosi brand, which will also fit directly onto the stroller frame, and it was 40% off.

I'm still in a bit of a state of shock over this big purchase. On the other hand, I don't think Michael's feet have touched the floor yet. He has been talking nonstop about how he can go jogging with this stroller, and how perfect it will be for shopping trips, and how if we can get the baby to sleep in the pram attachment, then we'll never even have to move him, and won't that be great? I tried to get the cats to sit in it, so that I could practice rolling it around with a live thing in it, but neither of them would stay. So I've been going up and down our (fairly rugged) driveway with an empty stroller instead, which is also fun.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cruising through Sterrebeek

It was an exciting day! After months of speculation, today I got to attend a meeting at work to discuss our brand new company car policy! Most companies in Belgium offer company cars to their employees because it turns out to be a win-win situation for both employer and employee, but until just this week my company was in the minority of those not offering cars.

The cars are not free (if I choose to subscribe to the policy, a set amount will be taken from my salary every month), and there are a total of 10 models of car to choose from in 4 different price categories. But it turns out to be a very good deal. The policy includes insurance, maintenance of the car, winter tires, and best of all, a gas card! At the top of the list for me right now is the Peugeot 407 SW seen in the image here - doesn't it look like a nice, reliable family car? (airbags, check. isofix car seat attachments, check. ESP braking, don't know what it is, but check.) Other models in the running are the VW Polo & Golf, the Mini Cooper and the Audi A4.

In any case, it will be a brand-new car, a huge step up from my first car, Speedy, who was a great little 1991 Honda Civic. Once I make the decision, it will be a 4-year lease, so it's important to choose carefully. So exciting!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tut, Tut, A Visit to London

Last week Michael and I spent 3 days in London. The original purpose of our trip was to go and see Michael Jackson live in concert. Unfortunately, that didn't work out - ensuring that the best story that the baby would ever have in his life (that he saw MJ while in the womb), was destroyed before he was even born. But since we had the hotel and train reservations already, we decided to take the trip and hit up some of the London theater instead.

(As an aside, due to the cancellation of the MJ concert, we were given the option of either getting a full refund on the tickets or we could receive the original tickets in the mail. I think we should have received both.)

The first stop on our theater tour was Wicked. Michael found it a little bit scary, since there were fire-breathing dragons, flying monkeys and wicked witches in it. I loved the costumes and the sets, and the girls in the main roles were wonderful. I only wish that the music had been better - the songs all sounded the same. But the show is a really great production with some great special effects and a great story.

Our second night out was spent at Avenue Q. Michael enjoyed this one because he likes to tell people the story of how the original creators of Sesame Street all did a lot of drugs and only decided that the show should be for kids as an afterthought. I was grateful that there weren't any jokes about bodily functions. In fact, I thought it was really funny and entertaining.

Both of these shows were doing something that I have never experienced before - charging for programs! Not only for the fancy full-colour keepsake programs, but also for the regular programs full of advertising that usually get handed out on the way into the theater. Is this happening everywhere now? It made me sad, because I like to read the bios of all the actors and writers, and I feel like I'm not giving them proper credit if I don't even look at their names, but to have to pay $3 for even the basic program is way too much! They must not be making enough money off tickets. It's a sad, sad world.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Canadian Treat

Seeing as how the British tend to love their pies and tarts, I always assumed that Butter Tarts, one of my favorite treats, were a delicacy that originated in England. Their scarcity in the States had me convinced that they weren't American (although a cousin of the butter tart, pecan pie, is my favorite "southern" dessert).

So you can imagine my disappointment when after entering multiple pastry shops in London this week, there was not a single butter tart to be found! It turns out that these heavenly tarts are a uniquely Canadian food. The good news about this, is that now when I get into conversations with my friends about foods that are unique to our particular countries, I don't have to say "poutine, and that's pretty much it" any more. Now I can say "poutine and BUTTER TARTS!"

The other bit of good news to come out of this story is that although my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook is conspicuously missing a butter tarts recipe, there is a recipe in The Best of The Best of Bridge cookbook that my mom gave me. Now all I need is a pound of brown sugar...

For the Record

After my last post, Michael asked me if I could clarify to the internet that although he has occasional bouts of craziness, it is mostly attributable to the fact that he has been working so hard to make sure that I am 100% happy at all times.

He really has been wonderful, and I tell him all the time how much I love and appreciate him, which is why I can get away with teasing him. But here for the record on the internet is a sample of some of the nice things that he's been doing that give him full license to act a bit crazy from time to time:
  1. These days when I start to get hungry, I generally have about 15 minutes between "I'm starting to feel hungry" and total meltdown. So last week Michael baked some chocolate chip cookies from scratch, and then carried them all over London along with some special K bars and a variety of fruit juices so that we could have instant snack breaks no matter where we were.
  2. For the times when we are at home, Michael has been keeping a constant supply of fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, mixed nuts, ice cream and lots of juice in the house.
  3. I've been getting back rubs every night.
  4. Michael has very patiently watched every pregnancy-related movie and tv show that I decide we must watch for the sake of the baby. Although I think he is starting to regret that he showed me how to use bit-torrent.
He knows how much I love him for all these things, and now so does the internet! So when I tease him for his strange ideas (the latest one is that he's decided to blur out the baby's face in any baby photos posted on the web until he/she officially reaches the age where he/she can consent to having his/her image online... and don't even get me started on his idea to decorate the nursery in a Vampire theme), it's because he really is genuinely funny, and someone needs to share his stories with the world.

Friday, July 24, 2009

In the line of fire

With all the pregnancy hormones at work in the house over the past few weeks, there has been a fair share of irrational behaviour going on. But who is responsible for the most atrocious acts of irrationality? Here are some of the most recent incidents:

Family Member #1:

  • Hitting someone in the metro with an umbrella because they stopped to talk to someone at the bottom of the escalator.
  • Throwing a tantrum in Marks & Spencer because they have the heat on in the middle of summer.
  • Smashing chocolate chip cookies into a glass with milk and eating it with a spoon.

Family Member #2:

  • Having a fit because the lever that turns the shower on in the bathroom is corroded and hard to pull up.
  • Insisting that we walk up and down the street across from Harrod's one more time because according to Google there is a bagel shop there.
  • Shouting angrily at the family member who was almost permanently stuck inside the metro due to a lack of money on their travel card to "Just sneak out behind the next person to go through the turnstile, already!!"

But which acts can be attributed to Jane, and which ones are all Michael? Remember, one of us has the excuse of having to deal with pregnancy hormones, while the other one only has the excuse of having to deal with a hormonal wife! :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

16 Weeks

Here I am at 16 weeks, trying to look pregnant! I still feel like I'm in an "in-between" stage, where I'm starting to look a little bit rounder, but not yet obviously pregnant.

I haven't had to adjust my wardrobe yet, but I did stop by a maternity store the other day, lured in by the 70% off signs in the window - but of course they are just getting rid of their summer stock, which reminded me that anything that I buy to fit the new me will have to be autumn/winter clothing, and the thought of shopping for a winter wardrobe right now is just too much to handle.

I tried to take a picture of myself a few weeks ago by balancing the camera on a stack of books, hitting the timer and then running into position, but they all came out badly. I'm much happier with this self-portrait method, especially since it gives me an excuse to hide my face, which always seems to ruin the picture (I'm still working on the "blissful joy of impending motherhood" look, it's not easy to master).

This photo was partly brought on by the fact that the other day Michael came across a really neat piece of videography by another expecting couple, and it has me slightly worried that I'm not doing enough to document the whole pregnancy experience. I haven't even written a letter to the unborn baby yet! My excuse is that I'm not artistic enough... instead of taking daily pictures, I've been researching the processes through which amniotic fluid is replenished in the womb, which when it comes right down to it is probably more valuable in the long run.

A special shout-out goes to the Red Pine Camp sweats I'm wearing in this picture - celebrating their 15th year in my wardrobe this summer! w00t!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Even the outfits are boring...

If this doesn't exemplify the cultural differences between Europe and North America, I don't know what does. Last week's Michael Jackson memorial was broadcast by only one network - CNN International. On the other hand, there is no mistaking the fact that the Tour de France is on in full swing. Every single day, the tour is broadcast on at least 8 different networks for a total of about 6 hours a day. Each network gets the exact same video feed from the tour organizers, so the only difference is the commentary, which you can watch in any of the following languages:
  • French (from France)
  • French (from Belgium)
  • Dutch (from Netherlands)
  • Flemish (from Belgium)
  • German (from Belgium)
  • English (from the UK)
Additionally, there are at least 3 options to watch in HD, if you aren't satisfied with the regular coverage. For some reason, Michael loves to watch the race, and insists on watching it every single day despite the fact that interesting events like crashes or breakaways are few and far between and are usually showcased in the primetime highlight shows. I've just downloaded The Business of Being Born, and I can't watch it until today's stage is done... lucky for him, Michael went and got me McDonalds for lunch, so I'm in a particularly patient mood.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Family is Growing!

After a long period of silence on the blog, it's only appropriate to resurrect it with some big news: Michael and I will become Dad and Mom on or about January 4th, 2010!

Here is the first picture of the baby with some key features identified (click to enlarge):

The picture in the upper left shows a nice profile of the face, and in the lower left picture the face is being partially obscured by a little arm.

I'm now 15 weeks into the pregnancy (25 more to go...) and am really happy to finally be in the second trimester. The first three months passed in a bit of a haze that seemed to last forever - I was feeling sick almost every day, no appetite, and so tired that simple activities such as taking a shower left me so exhausted that I needed a nap. Lately though, I've been getting my energy back (thanks, placenta!) and it feels great to be able to do a little exercise and play mario kart without feeling dizzy.

We're well into the baby names discusssion (currently on the table if it's a boy are Luca, Oscar, and Andreas and if it's a girl Hazel, Raphaella, and Zoe - but these are subject to almost daily change), and the pregnancy is starting to feel "real" enough that we've also started browsing the catalogues of the local baby stores - a truly intimidating experience (there are more models of strollers than cars!).

So now that I have something to talk about, I'll try to do more blogging. Up-and-coming topics to include: the joy of heartburn, the joy of elastic waistbands and of course, the joy of hotdogs.

Friday, April 17, 2009


You had to eliminate a single type of insect permanently from the earth, what would you get rid of?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Anybody Need a Burger?

  The sun has finally revealed itself from behind the clouds here in Belgium! You know what that means! Barbeque time! Unfourntinely for us we had left your good old Canadian Tire grill back in Chapel Hill. We spent the last season using an old charcol hibachi, which was not going to cut it for us this year.

That is were our new friends at 
Standard - AHZ come in and save the day. I didn't want to get another grill that was just going to rust and needed to be replaced in a year or two. We had looked at our local Brico and didn't like anything we saw, still don't know what that side burner is for. So we headed east to Leuven, just about 20 minutes from our house, to Standard - AHZ. We were greeted with more choices then we could ever imagine, and a few beers! We quickly decided upon a good old Canadian made Broil King Signet, no side burner in sight.

Anybody Need a Burger?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


... You could occupy the world described in a novel, which would you choose?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Neef Matt Bezoeken België

...or he might say "K
usin Matt besök Belgien" since he now lives in Sweden.  For those of you in the Americas that would be "Cousin Matt visits Belgium."  Anywho we had our 1st visit of the year, we are off to a good start.

  We had grand plans of going to Ghent and enjoying some pintjes' and some traditional Flemish food at "Het Grote Vlees Huis" but after our night of heavy snow here in Vlaams we only made it to Tervuren.  

We had been decided to check out some of the trees at the Arboretum.   I often ride my bike or run on many of the trails but I had never been down there with snow on the ground.  Not being prepared for the snow we wrapped up as best we could and set out for a little trip to check out the Giant Sequoia Grove.  Nothing like what you would see in Northern California but still massive tress.

It was great visit but short.  Jane and I are planning a visit up to Sweden in the summer.  We hope the weather will be nicer then it was for Matt's trip here.